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Introduction to Theatre

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Introduction to Theatre Drama Combines aspects of all three Literary Genres Literature Drama can be fictional or factual It can also be commercial or literary Drama ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Theatre


1
Introduction to Theatre
2
Drama Combines aspects of all three Literary
Genres
  • Literature
  • Drama can be fictional or factual
  • It can also be commercial or literary
  • Drama shares many of the common literary elements
    like plot, setting, characterization, and dialog
  • Poetry
  • Many plays are written in verse (for example,
    Oedipus Rex and Othello)
  • Drama
  • Its unique characteristic is that it is written
    to be performed

3
Three Major Characteristics of Drama
  • 1. It has a direct, immediate impact
  • Advantages
  • Simultaneous impressions occur
  • Performance can be more expressive than a
    readers imagination
  • Disadvantages
  • Limited to one viewpointobjective (dramatic)
  • Writers try to overcome this by using the
    soliloquy and the aside to accomplish what the
    omniscient viewpoint achieves in the short story
    genre

4
  • 2. Drama effectively commands the spectators
    attention
  • Advantage The playwrights power extends beyond
    words alone
  • Disadvantage The materials one can use on stage
    are limited

5
  • 3. The experience of watching a play is communal
  • Advantage Impact is intensified.
  • Disadvantages There is a need for brevity, swift
    movement of plot, and intermissions

6
Plays are meant to be seen. However, there are
justifications for reading a play
  • It is better to know some masterpieces by reading
    them than never to know them at all
  • Reading allows fuller use of the imagination
  • It allows one to study at leisure
  • It allows for review
  • It permits one to see the original intent of the
    author without intervention by a director

7
The History of Western Drama is Rooted in Ancient
Greece
A Greek theatre on Mount Parnassus above Delphi
8
Greek Theatre
  • Ancient Greek theatre developed as part of
    religious festivals
  • A choric hymn called the dithyramb was composed
    in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine and
    fertility
  • The hymn was sung by a chorus of 50 men
  • Over time, Thespis, the first actor, added dialog
    between one actor and the chorus

9
Thespis
  • Added the first actor to interact with the
    dithyramb chorus
  • Called the actor the protagonist
  • Is said to have performed in Athens in 534 B.C.
  • The term thespian, (having to do with drama or
    theater) comes from his name.
  • When the Dionysian festivals changed to drama
    competitions, Thespis was the first winner

10
Golden Age of Greece (480 - 338 BC)
  • Featured 3 great tragic dramatists
  • Aeschylus (525-456 BC)
  • Sophocles (496-405 BC)
  • Euripedes (480-407 BC)

11
  • Aeschylus (around 484 B.C.)
  • Changed the dithyramb into drama
  • Added a second actor
  • Added props and scenery
  • Reduced the chorus from 50 to 15
  • Sophocles
  • Added a third actor
  • Changed the focus from interactions between
    humans and the gods to interactions between
    humans
  • Euripides
  • Reflects modern attitudes
  • Writes about all real people, not just royalty
  • Plays have a realistic flavor

12
Physical Conventions of Greek Theatre
  • Semi-circular tiers of seats hollowed out of the
    hillside
  • Seated up to 17,000 spectators
  • Orchestra
  • 60 ft. in diameter with altar at center
  • Place where the chorus performed
  • Performances occurred in daylight
  • Chorus of 15
  • Sang and danced in response to the actors

13
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14
Chorus
  • Forerunner of our divisions of plays into acts
    and scenes
  • Function in telling story
  • converses with main character(s)
  • sometimes comments on the action
  • offers words of warning, advice
  • voices reactions of spectators

15
Actors
  • Maximum of 3 with speaking roles
  • Could double, triple their roles
  • All male
  • Wore masks
  • Wore buskins
  • Elevator boots to increase stature

16
Other Characteristics of Greek Drama
  • Some unhappy endings
  • Few or no horrible scenes on stage
  • Female roles played by men
  • Simple stage props
  • Religious in origin and spirit
  • Romantic love not important
  • Employed Aristotles classical unities

17
Aristotles Rules and Purpose for Ancient Drama
  • Classical Unities
  • Unity of time (action must occur within 24 hours)
  • Unity of place (action takes place in one
    location)
  • Unity of action (single plot)
  • Catharsis
  • Socially acceptable purging of emotions such as
    anger, fear, or grief

18
Two Main Types of Greek Drama with sub-genres
  • Tragedy
  • Melodrama
  • Comedy
  • Farce

19
Characteristics of Greek Tragedy
  • Displays human greatness
  • Emphasizes human freedom
  • Exposes the nobility of man
  • Presents challenges to the vision of human
    possibility
  • Adheres to Aristotles classical unities

20
Characteristics of the Tragic Hero
  • Overpowering individual
  • Usually named in the plays title
  • Judged by moral standards
  • Isolated
  • Lofty and noble
  • Has a tragic flaw

21
Melodrama
  • A sub-genre of Tragedy
  • Attempts to arouse feelings of fear and pity
  • Uses crude means
  • Oversimplified conflict
  • Emphasis on plot
  • Good triumphs over evil
  • Happy ending
  • Usually escapist

22
Characteristics of Comedy
  • Emphasizes commonness of the group
  • Protagonist tends to be a type
  • Protagonist is judged by social standards
  • Plots are less likely to have organic unity
  • Usually happy ending

23
Farce
  • A sub-genre of Comedy
  • Aims at explosive laughter
  • Crude means
  • Violent, usually physical conflicts
  • Emphasis on plot, improbable situations,
    coincidence
  • Coarse wit, practical jokes, physical action
  • Usually escapist

24
  • This ends the introductory
  • discussion of drama and theatre
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